‘As they have dared, so shall I dare. Dare to tell the truth!’ from J’accuse by Emile Zola, French writer 1840 – 1902
Injustice. A man who has served his country faithfully, is accused, tried, convicted and sent to a notorious, disease infested prison colony called Devil’s Island for a crime he did not commit. There he stays for four dreadful years.
That man was an army captain called Alfred Dreyfus, wrongly convicted of leaking French military secrets to Germany at the turn of the 20th Century. But Dreyfus also stands for countless men and women throughout history, who have been taken from their families, from their homes, from their freedom. Taken without cause for crimes they have not committed. Men and women who have been accused and convicted by:
‘Those who with a word make someone out to be guilty, who ensnare the defender in court and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.’ Isaiah 29 v21
Injustice. You may have experienced the unrelenting power of injustice in your own life. You may have been lied about, talked down, convicted without cause for a crime you did not commit. You may not have been thrown into a physical prison cell, but there are many ways to feel as if you are behind bars.
‘You are the cause of the problem, you are the reason all this happened, it is your fault, you carry the blame, if it weren’t for you…’
In the end, Alfred Dreyfus was saved by a writer called Emile Zola; a writer who could have but refused to ignore the plight of an innocent man. Zola, knowing very well the dangers he faced by speaking out, spoke truth to power anyway. He spoke because Dreyfus could not.
And that my friend is the only way to overcome injustice – whether it takes the form of prejudice, discrimination, manipulation, negligence or exploitation – to join hands with the truth. We, like Dreyfus, will only find our freedom when truth prevails.
So here is truth to join hands with this week:
Whenever someone came to Jesus in chains, He set them free. The woman found in bed with her illicit lover, the man whose deformity caused everyone to shun him, the broken-hearted parent, the tortured child, the man who fiddled the books, the drunkard, the woman who lived on the wrong side of the tracks. Everyone who came to Him as a prisoner left with their freedom.
‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8 v32
So shall I dare, shall you dare, to believe for freedom? Shall we join hands with truth this week? For ourselves, for someone we know or a stranger who may need our voice?
Have a good week, may His love keep you warm x
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